He's OK, folks. He's OK. Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers weathered another beating Sunday night, this time taking a foul ball off his groin and, presumably, a protective cup. Though he obviously went through some discomfort and anxiety for a few moments, Avila finished the game after getting hit "there" in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Some catchers, like Avila, seem to invite extra contact more than others. As Dan Shulman noted during ESPN's broadcast, the Tigers have gone to great lengths to figure out why Avila has been subject to so many foul tips and back swings. They're obviously still trying to figure it out.
What happened with Shane Victorino batting in the fifth was just bad luck, as he you can see from the close-up Vine video: Victorino tipped the ball and Avila's mitt simply was out of position for an unpredictable foul trajectory.
Catchers in lower levels of baseball use a longer chest protector that covers the groin for instances just like this with Avila, but most major league catchers do not bother. It doesn't look cool, probably, and apparently it's not necessary because of the hard cup. Left-handed pitcher David Price got hit in the cup with a line drive in April and said he didn't even feel it happen. If only pitchers heads could be protected by the same material. C'mon, Brandon McCarthy, just wear a giant cup on your head and you'll be fine.
Hey, if Avila's genitals can take the pounding of the occasional errant ball or bat, fly free without the extra padding down there, dude.
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